Faculty & Leadership Blog / Faculty in the News

A Beginner’s Guide to Raising Ethical Issues at Work

Senior Research Scholar Mary Gentile writes in the Harvard Business Review blog, The Conversation:

Responding to intense pressure for short-term results, people working for corporations often cut corners that they shouldn’t. We use all kinds of rationalizations to excuse these behaviors — everything from “everyone does it” to “nobody’s getting hurt by this” to “I’d get fired if I complained.”

Most of us want to behave ethically, and we also know when something isn’t right. But it can be very hard to speak up in support of our beliefs. In recent years, I’ve explored the question of how people behave in ethically compromised situations. My observations — along with a whole raft of research in the fields of social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and behavioral economics — have helped me to understand what conditions make it easier to speak up effectively. I describe my findings in an article in this month’s HBR, “Keeping Your Colleagues Honest.”

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